Dizengoff Street bus bombing

The Dizengoff Street bus bombing was a Hamas suicide attack on a passenger bus driving down Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv in 1994.[1] At that time, it was the deadliest suicide bombing in Israeli history,[2] and the first successful attack in Tel Aviv.[3] Twenty-two civilians were killed and 50 were injured.[4] The attack was planned by Hamas chief Yahya Ayyash, on the eve of the signing of the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace.

Dizengoff Street bus bombing
The attack site is located in Tel Aviv
The attack site
The attack site
The attack site is located in Central Israel
The attack site
The attack site
LocationDizengoff Street, Tel Aviv, Israel
Coordinates32°4′44.31″N 34°46′26.26″E / 32.0789750°N 34.7739611°E
DateOctober 19, 1994
9:00 am (GMT+2)
Attack type
Suicide attack
Deaths22 civilians (+ 1 suicide bomber)
Non-fatal injuries
PerpetratorsOne suicide bomber (Saleh Abdel Rahim al-Souwi). Hamas claimed responsibility.


Yahya Ayyash was disappointed that the previous attack he orchestrated, the Hadera central station suicide bombing, had killed six Israelis. The bomb used in that attack had been small and made of acetone peroxide, a relatively weak explosive. For the attack on bus five, Ayyash constructed a bomb using an Egyptian land mine packed with twenty kilograms of military-strength TNT, surrounded by nails and screws.[5] TNT is not readily available in the Palestinian territories, but Hamas had managed to acquire some by smuggling it in or purchasing it from Israeli organized crime. The device "was one of the best ever built by Ayyash."[6]

Qalqilya resident Saleh Abdel Rahim al-Souwi was selected for the attack. Al-Souwi joined Hamas after his older brother Hasin was killed in 1989, in a shootout with Israeli forces. Al-Souwi was wanted by the Israeli Shabak, but was not considered a high priority.[7] The day before the attack, al-Souwi taped a statement saying "It is good to die as a martyr for Allah" and "Sages end up in paradise".[8]


Muatab Mukadi, a member of Ayyash's Samaria battalion (of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades), drove al-Souwi to one of the bus's first stops. al-Souwi chose an aisle seat on the left side of the bus, and placed the bomb (stored in a brown bag) at his feet.

At approximately 9:00 AM, as the bus was slowing down for a stop 100 metres north of Dizengoff Square, al-Souwi detonated the bomb killing 21 Israelis and one Dutch national. The powerful explosion lifted the bus off its chassis and the heat melted the fiberglass bus frame. Limbs were projected like missiles into the seating area of nearby restaurants.[9]

Following the explosion, a crowd of demonstrators descended on the bomb site chanting "Death to the Arabs".[9] "Police arrested scores of Arab suspects in and around the blast area, though most of them were detained to save them from the crowd's anger."[9]



Bus no 5 bombing
Memorial to victims of the attack

At the time of the attack, it was the deadliest in Israeli history. However, subsequent bombings have been even more devastating, among them the Jaffa Road bus bombings, the Passover suicide bombing, and the Shmuel Hanavi bus bombing.

Yitzhak Rabin, then Israel's Prime Minister, who was in the United Kingdom on a state visit, immediately returned to Israel. Ayyash's name and pictures of the demolished bus were featured in newspapers around the world.

Israeli police quickly identified al-Souwi as the perpetrator. The day after the bombing, with his identify confirmed using DNA, al-Souwi's family threw a neighborhood party celebrating his "martyrdom." That afternoon, the Israel Security Agency (ISA) destroyed the house, after giving the family one hour to remove their possessions.[11]


  1. ^ Haberman, Clyde (October 20, 1994). "On the No. 5 Bus Line, A Thud, Then Silence". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Haberman, Clyde (October 20, 1994). "20 Killed In Terrorist Bombing Of Bus In Tel Aviv". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Katz, 153
  4. ^ Death toll
  5. ^ Katz, 147
  6. ^ Katz, 150
  7. ^ Katz 147-148
  8. ^ Katz, 149
  9. ^ a b c Katz, 151
  10. ^ Terrorism victims
  11. ^ Katz, 160

Further reading

  • Katz, Samuel (2002). The Hunt for the Engineer. Lyons Press. ISBN 1-58574-749-1.
1990 Cairo bus attack

The Cairo bus attack was a terrorist attack that occurred on February 4, 1990. The attack was claimed by two groups, an unknown group calling itself the 'Organisation for the Defense of the Oppressed of Egypts Prisons' which claimed to have done it to protest the torture in Egyptian prisons, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Nine Israeli civilians were killed and 17 more were wounded with automatic fire and hand grenades. The attack was the worst on Israelis in Egypt since the two countries signed a peace agreement in 1979.

Israel's minister Ariel Sharon said the Palestine Liberation Organisation was behind the attack.Later, the Egyptian Government announced that the attack had been plotted abroad and carried out by non- Egyptians.

1994 in Israel

Events in the year 1994 in Israel.

1997 Mahane Yehuda Market bombings

The 1997 Mahane Yehuda Market bombings were two consecutive suicide bombings carried out by Hamas militants on 30 July 1997 at the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, Israel, the city's main open-air fruit and vegetable market. Sixteen people were killed in the attack and 178 were injured.

Afula axe attack

The Afula axe attack was a Palestinian militant attack which occurred on November 30, 1994, in northern town of Afula when a lone Palestinian assailant attacked a 19-year-old female Israeli soldier who was on her way home from the artillery base in which she served, in the downtown area of the town, near the town's police station. The attacker hit her head from behind with an axe. The attack, which shocked the Israeli public, was one of the more prominent axe attacks at that time, which signified to many in the Israeli public a deterioration to their personal security at the time. The attacker was sentenced to life imprisonment, was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, but was returned to prison after he resumed militant activity. He is currently serving a life sentence.

Afula bus suicide bombing

The Afula bus suicide bombing was the suicide bombing attack that was carried out on April 6, 1994, at a bus next to an Egged bus in the center of Afula, Israel. Eight Israeli civilians were killed in the attack and 55 additional people were injured. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Afula bus suicide bombing was the first suicide bombing attack to be carried out by Palestinian militants against Israeli civilians in Israel, and was carried out in retaliation for the killing by a settler of 29 Muslims while they were at prayer in the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron on February 25.

Beit Lid suicide bombing

The Beit Lid suicide bombing, (also named Beit Lid massacre) was a suicide attack by Palestinian Islamic Jihad against Israeli soldiers at the Beit Lid Junction on January 22, 1995. It was the first suicide attack by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Café Apropo bombing

The Café Apropo bombing was a Palestinian suicide bombing which occurred on 21 March 1997 in a coffee shop in Tel Aviv. 3 women were killed in the attack and 48 were injured.

Dizengoff Center suicide bombing

The Dizengoff Center suicide bombing (also Purim massacre) was a Palestinian terrorist attack on March 4, 1996 on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Purim. The suicide bomber blew himself up outside Dizengoff Center in downtown Tel Aviv, killing 13 Israelis and wounding 130 more. The attack was the fourth suicide bombing in Israel in nine days, bringing the death toll during that span to over 60.

Hadera bus station suicide bombing

The Hadera bus station suicide bombing was a 1994 Hamas suicide attack on a passenger bus departing from the central bus station in Hadera for Tel Aviv, Israel. Six were killed and 30 injured. The attack came exactly one week after another Hamas attack, the Afula Bus suicide bombing. Both attacks were motivated officially by Hamas as retribution for the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre conducted against Muslim worshippers in February by Baruch Goldstein. The attack took place on the Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day.

Hamas bombmaker Yahya Ayyash built a bomb using two kilograms of home-made acetone peroxide explosive. Twenty-one-year-old Amar Salah Diab Amarna, a native of Ya'bad in the West Bank, was selected for the mission.On the morning of April 13, 1994, Amarna boarded the 9:30 AM bus to Tel Aviv. At 9:40 AM, as the bus was pulling out of the station, Amarna placed the bag containing the bomb on the floor of the bus, "where shrapnel could rip through vital arteries in the groin area," and detonated it.As Israeli rescue workers converged on the scene of the explosion, a second pipe bomb exploded. Hamas later claimed responsibility for the attack. Fatalities

Kfar Darom bus attack

The Kfar Darom bus attack was a 1995 suicide attack on an Israeli bus carrying civilians and soldiers to Kfar Darom, an Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip. The attack killed seven Israeli soldiers and one American civilian. The Shaqaqi faction of the Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the bombing. A United States Federal district judge ruled that the Iranian Government had provided financial aid to the group that carried out the attack and were therefore responsible for the murder of the U.S. citizen. The court ordered the Government of Iran to pay the victim's family $247.5 million in damages.

Kidnapping and murder of Nissim Toledano

The Kidnapping and murder of Nissim Toledano began on 13 December 1992, when a squad of Hamas kidnapped Israeli border policeman Senior Sergeant Nissim Toledano in Lod. Although the captors demanded the release of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin for Toledano, Toledano was murdered by his captors.

Kidnapping and murder of Yaron Chen

The Kidnapping and murder of Yaron Chen was a kidnapping and murder attack on August 5, 1993, in which Hamas militants abducted and murdered Israeli soldier Yaron Chen.

Mehola Junction bombing

The Mehola Junction bombing (also known as the Beit El bombing, literally, the House of God bombing) was the first suicide car bomb attack carried out by Palestinian militants and took place on 16 April 1993.Hamas bombmaker Yahya Ayyash rigged a Volkswagen Transporter using three large propane tanks and explosives collected from grenades and other ordnance. The bomb was connected to a detonator switch in the driver's controls.Hamas operative Saher Tamam al-Nabulsi drove the car to Mehola Junction, a rest area on the Jordan Valley Highway in the West Bank. Just after 1:00 AM, the car exploded between two buses, one civilian and one military. The blast killed al-Nabulsi and Marwan Ghani, a Palestinian from the nearby village of Bardala who worked in a snack bar in Mehola. Ghani's brother and eight Israeli soldiers were slightly injured.

Murder of Helena Rapp

The murder of Helena Rapp was a stabbing attack carried out on 24 May 1992, in which a Palestinian terrorist killed 15-year-old Israeli schoolgirl Helena Rapp in the center of the Israeli coastal city of Bat Yam. The attack, which shocked the Israeli public, was one of the more prominent stabbing attacks in a series of stabbing attacks that took place in Israel during the early 1990s, which signified to many in the Israeli public a deterioration of their personal security at the time.

Murder of Yaron and Efrat Ungar

The Murder of Yaron and Efrat Ungar was a shooting attack on June 9, 1996, during which two Palestinian gunmen killed Yaron and Efrat Ungar as they drove on a road between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel near Beit Shemesh. The Palestinian gunmen fired twenty bullets from their Mitsubishi van into the couple's car. Although the bullets missed the couple's one-year-old son, who was in a car seat in the back, both Yaron and Efrat were killed.

The Ungars estate sued Yasser Arafat, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the Islamic group Hamas in March 2000 in a Providence, Rhode Island, United States federal court house for wrongful death due to the defendants' encouragement of terrorism in the Kiryat Arba region. Although the estate won $116 million in 2004, the judgment was overturned on appeal in 2010, while the Ungars estate, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the Palestinian Authority entered into a confidential settlement in February 2011 to end the case.

Netzarim Junction bicycle bombing

The Netzarim Junction bicycle bombing was a suicide bombing which occurred on November 11, 1994 at an Israeli Army checkpoint located in the Gaza Strip. In the attack, three Israeli soldiers were killed and six Israeli soldiers and six Palestinian Arab were wounded.

The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

Night of the Pitchforks

The Night of the Pitchforks (Hebrew: ליל הקילשונים‎, Leil HaKilshonim), refers to an incident that took place on February 14, 1992, in which Israeli Arab militants from the Wadi Ara area, members of Islamic Jihad, infiltrated into an IDF military recruit training base near Kibbutz Gal'ed, in the Menashe Heights, and killed three Israeli soldiers.

Ramat Eshkol bus bombing

The Ramat Eshkol bus bombing was a Hamas suicide attack on a city bus in the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood of Jerusalem on August 21, 1995.The Palestinian Islamist militant organization Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

Ramat Gan bus bombing

The Ramat Gan bus bombing was a Hamas suicide attack on a crowded No. 20 commuter bus in Ramat Gan, Israel on July 24, 1995, near the Israel Diamond Exchange. Six Israelis were killed and 33 were wounded. The bomb contained 33 pounds of TNT packed into a metal pipe.

Prominent terrorist attacks against Israelis in the history of the Arab–Israeli conflict – the 1990s
Prominent Palestinian militancy attacks in the 1990s
Within Israel
West Bank
Gaza Strip

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